Do You Hear What I hear?

A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin; it was a cold December morning. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that a thousand of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule. A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the and without stopping continued to walk. A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, But the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was Late for work. The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy. His mother Tagged him along, hurried but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally The mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk turning his head all The time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on. In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed For a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over, no one noticed it. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition. No one knew this but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a Theatre in Boston and the seats average $100. This is a [true] story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station Was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context? One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best Musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things Are we missing?

(author unknown)

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Ordinarily, I’d  be reluctant to disseminate a piece like the above, poorly written and bordering the banal.  I’ve had it filed away for use in a sermon some day and have lost track of where it came from. It surfaced onscreen today and I pass it on because it reminds me of an experience some years ago with the same theme.

My family and I were in a boutique of some kind in Bar Harbor, Maine.  I wandered about doing my best to project an air of total disinterest in my surroundings but beginning to be aware of a marvelous rendition of The Four Seasons. Two women were engaged–immersed, I’d say–in a conversation close by, one woman in the midst of relating something having to do with a neighbor I gathered she had diagnosed as crazy.  By her side, a girl of eight or nine was frantically yanking on this woman’s dress pleading “Mommy!  Mommy!  Shut up and listen to the music!”  Enough said.

(source unkown)